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Cooking with fat

Since reading Nourishing Traditions, I've realised that using butter and lard/tallow in cooking is healthy, tasty and frugal.  For more information on good fats for cooking see this post.

I skim the lard/tallow off the top of my stock and keep it in a container in the fridge (my stock method here).  The easiest way to do this is to put the finished stock into a large jug or container in the fridge.  When it has cooled, the fat will have solidified on the top of the stock and is easy to scrape off.  I usually end up with a little stock mixed in, but that just adds flavour.  I don't bother to purify it, so I just try to use it up quickly (as the stock will go off before the fat will).  I find that its useful for frying and roasting just about anything.  When I have some cooking fat in the fridge I use it in place of my normal olive oil or butter.  I don't go out of my way to source animal fat for cooking, but when I do have it, I like to use it up.  I kept lots of fat from the steer we just butchered, so I will be rendering that soon (its waiting for me in the freezer).

I like using the fat because:
  • it tastes good and is nutritious
  • it means that I'm not wasting the fat from my stock
  • I don't have to buy anything in packaging
  • it reduces the amount of olive oil that I need to buy 
Do you cook with lard (from pork) or tallow (from beef)?  Or duck or chicken fat??


  1. I always make my own stock, but it never occurred to me to keep the fat...I always thought of that fat as unhealthy fat- looks like I have some reading to do.

  2. we use lard for alot of our cooking certainly the sunday roast and we only fry in lard for our fish n chip nights..Lard ,butter or olive oil is all we use

  3. What a great idea Liz! I'll have to give that a try.

  4. Yum! I think I'm slowly bringing more people around to using their animal fats. It makes so much sense, I can't believe it took me do long to do it.

  5. We don't raise our own livestock but I always make sure to use the fat on any cuts I buy. Bacon fat in particular saves really well and I use it to fry potatoes, brussels sprouts and other dishes that could do with a bit of flavour and crispiness.

    There are health issues that can arise from eating saturated animal fats on a regular basis but I think the key is not overdoing it and looking into whether you have a family history of heart disease or other complications. Some people just seem to be able to digest meat and fats a lot better than others.

  6. I always render fat - pork fat is a lovely white colour and makes a nice pastry, and because we have pigs, I use it the most. I have a recipe on my blog for the lard pastry. Chips are really good cooked in any fat. I reuse my chip fat by straining and keeping in the fridge. I render the fat from chickens and ducks too, but this usually gets used in cooking duck confit. From what I've read animal fats and coconut oil are much healthier to cook with than the "healthy" polyunsaturated fats, which change as soon as they are heated (healthy when used unheated).

  7. lucky for us fat-lovers, it turns out that the whole saturated fat / cholesterol thing was a giant science / policy / pharmaceutical industry stuff-up, see here So you can happily eat all the pasture-fed animal fat you want, without fear of health problems, just make sure you chuck out the margarine while you're at it though.


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